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How to shop organic on a budget: the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

How to shop organic on a budget: the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

posted by , October 10, 2012

Okay, so we know it’s a very good thing for babies to eat organic food: it reduces the pesticides going into their immature systems, and keeps things as natural as possible. But let’s face it, it can be really expensive! Is there any way to get the benefits of organic fruit and veg without breaking the bank?

Luckily, there is. The Environmental Working Group, a US-based nonprofit organisation which advocates for public health, publishes a couple of handy lists every year to help parents out. The “Dirty Dozen” are the twelve worst offenders: fruits and veggies that consistently test high in pesticide residues (even after washing). And the “Clean Fifteen” are just the opposite: they tend to have minimal pesticide residues, even when they’re farmed conventionally.

If you have both these lists at your side, shopping smart is a breeze: just buy Dirty Dozen produce in the organic section, and don’t worry about spending extra on organic for the Clean Fifteen. That way, even if you can’t afford to go 100% organic, your whole family can avoid the worst culprits (and reduce your pesticide consumption by close to 80%) in an affordable way.

Here’s your official list, and a link to a downloadable version from the EWG – print it out and keep it with your grocery carry-bags, and you’ll never go astray. (Or better yet, get their Android or  iPhone app!)


Dirty Dozen: Buy these organic! Clean Fifteen (lowest in pesticides)
Apples Onions
Celery Sweet Corn
Sweet bell peppers Pineapples
Peaches Avocado
Strawberries Cabbage
Nectarines Sweet peas
Grapes Asparagus
Spinach Mangoes
Lettuce Eggplant
10 Cucumbers 10 Kiwi
11 Blueberries 11 Cantaloupe
12 Potatoes 12 Sweet potatoes
Plus(may contain other pesticides of special concern) 13 Grapefruit
Green beans + 14 Watermelon
Kale/Greens + 15 Mushrooms

 Did any of these surprise you? 

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